Cremated remains used in underwater memorials

Posted at 7:06 AM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 10:06:07-04

It may be the most unique way of memorializing someone you love -- an Imperial Beach nonprofit group is mixing cremated remains with crushed shells and concrete to make artificial reefs.

"I think people enjoy this more because it adds such a positive in a really tragic situation," said Robert Sarnie of Living Reef Memorial.

The group has installed more than 100 artificial reef memorials near the Coronado Islands.

"Once they're deployed into the sea, you wouldn't recognize them after a couple of months," Sarnie said about the life that takes to the reefs.

A loved one's ashes are mixed in to create different sized reefs on land, and then divers carefully place them on the ocean floor. Each reef has holes for sea life to live.

"It's something that lasts forever," said Sarnie.

Profits from the Living Reef Memorials are used to fund another nonprofit, Sea Turtle Rescue. The group raised and released more than 50,000 baby turtles into the ocean last year.